Fort McMurray shopping mall saves big on power

Energy consumption is one of the highest variable costs of running a building. In a 203,000 square foot mall in a cold climate, those costs can be substantial. But for Primaris, which owns and manages Peter Pond Mall, all options for minimizing consumption are opportunities.

Primaris owns and manages 17 regional shopping centres and 14 retail properties across Canada, encompassing about 10 million square feet. Built in 1978 and purchased by Primaris in 2013, Peter Pond Mall sits in the heart of downtown Fort McMurray.

Always looking for areas of improvement, Primaris decided to enter the mall into a thorough energy efficiency review. After completing an energy audit, they identified several energy-saving opportunities and set a goal to reduce overall electricity use by 10 per cent.

“Peter Pond Mall was able to identify areas of improvement and uncover new areas of costs savings. The property has already seen vast improvements in our electricity consumption, which in turn, has resulted in cost savings for our tenants, as well as ensuring Peter Pond Mall remains a good energy-efficient community member,” said Julie Worrell, Property Manager.

A large Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) project (replacing 40-year-old units with more energy-efficient equipment) at the end of 2018 kick-started their power savings and has since cut their electricity bills significantly.

After this, they acted on many of the identified low and no-cost energy conservation measures like shutting off escalator motors at night and setting schedules for their HVAC system and for lighting in qualifying areas. They also replaced lighting with energy-efficient LED tubes and switched out electric heaters for natural gas heaters.

To date in 2020, Primaris has saved $50,000 alone on electricity—a massive 15 per cent decrease in electricity usage. All told, Primaris has saved 285,500 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Going forward, Peter Pond Mall aims to leverage its learnings as it works towards achieving additional energy-savings goals. Their plans include installing a building management system, engaging with tenants, continuing with energy-efficient lighting replacements throughout the property, and replacing HVAC units as they meet their life expectancy.

Learn more about the ERA’s energy efficiency program Energy Savings for Business, and how it can benefit your business.

In 2020, Emissions Reduction Alberta assumed increased responsibility for energy efficiency programs targeting small- and medium-sized industrial and commercial entities. This project was funded by the Government of Alberta, and it is an example of the kind of project that could be funded through ERA’s newest program, Energy Savings for Business.